Hi. I'm Sandra, your embedded librarian and I've created this guide to help you with your research for VSC110. 

Each section introduces the steps you should take when researching for an assessment. You'll find links to videos and resources that will give you the tools to find great information. Use the activities on the test your knowledge tab to see what you need to revise.

If you would like an introduction to our Library website and services check out:

Getting started with your assessment

The first thing is to make sure you clearly understand the task and what topic you are seeking information for, this is called topic analysis. Check your assessment task details in your Subject Outline.

With an understanding of your task you then need to plan how you will search for information. This starts with identifying and brainstorming keywords.

Imagine you are given the following essay question:

Describe how you would create a beef herd in either the temperate or the tropical areas of Australia, and explain the decisions you would make in planning the herd's major husbandry and health management events.  

Keywords Synonyms or related terms
beef beef herd, cattle, cows, livestock
husbandry farm management, animal husbandry, farming, health management
temperature tropical, temperate, weather conditions
Australia Queensland, Northern Territory.....

Does your task place any limits? These might be "in the last X years" or Australian content. What are the instruction words for your task? Have you been asked to define or identify or discuss? Does your task place any limits? E.g. recent, current or peer-reviewed sources. 

For guidance in topic analysis check out:

Create a search strategy

When you search using Primo Search or a library database use the keywords and limits you identified above to create your search. Combine the keywords with search operators, rather than searching with a whole sentence or question. Search operators tell Primo or the database how to search with your keywords.

For your assessment topic potential search strings could include:

  • "beef herd" AND "animal husbandry"
  • (beef OR cattle) AND "farm management" AND climate
  • (beef OR cattle) AND "animal husbandry" AND 'temperate climate"
  • (beef OR cattle) AND "farm management" AND 'temperate climate" AND Australia*

Remember: you will need to try a range of searches. Don't stop after just one.

To understand how search operators work check out:

Choose the right place to search

Before you start searching, think about what types of information you need and where you can search to find those types of resources.

Primo Search

Primo Search is a good place to start as it allows you to use one search box to bring back results from most of our Library collection including books, eBooks, journal articles, newspaper articles and more. You may get a large number of results and some of these will be from outside your subject/discipline area. Check the content is relevant to your assessment task before you use it.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar allows you to locate resources such as articles, theses and books.

Unlike Primo Search, which is set to search the Library's holdings only, Google Scholar searches beyond Charles Sturt University Library and will include resources that are not available to you.

Set up library links to access the Library's online resources using these instructions.

Library databases

Databases will help you find academic resources and are often subject specific. You will get fewer results than Primo, but they will be more relevant to your subject/discipline. 

I recommend trying the following database:

The Animal & Veterinary Sciences lists have more databases you can search.

Learn how to search efficiently in Primo and Library databases:


Using credible information will improve the quality of your assessment and may result in better marks, but how can you tell whether the resources you've found are credible and suitable for your assessment? Have you been asked to use peer reviewed, academic or refereed articles? Are you using authoritative websites?

The information below will help you evaluate the information you find, in books, journal articles, or online to make sure it’s reliable.

Reading, writing and referencing

The Academic Skills team help you build your writing, referencing and reading skills to be successful at Uni.

Check out their support and resources under Learning Skills in the Student Portal.

Here are some pages to get you started:

Keen for more?

If you're interested in finding out more, check out the following:

Contact us